Barbie Logo
  • Director:

    Greta Gerwig

  • Release date:

    July 9, 2023

  • Distributed by:

    Warner Bros. Pictures

Features Review

In the sea of mainstream films, Barbie has emerged as an impressive beacon of inventiveness, storytelling, and surprising undertones. Delivered by Greta Gerwig, Noah Baumbach, and Margot Robbie, the film takes viewers on a ride that seems to be dabbling in capitalist contradictions whilst encapsulating the essence of raw creative labor and imagination in the purest form. 

The narrative arc of Barbie is at once universal and personal, presenting audiences with a tale that is both mirthful and poignant. Played to perfection by Margot Robbie, Barbie is not your run-of-the-mill plastic figure but a multi-dimensional character who is chipper, confident, and blonde. She commands a world in which everything seems perfect, down to her friends spanning an impressive range of powerful professions. This serves as a layered critique of womanhood and the expectations surrounding them, amplifying the narrative's depth.

The first dive into this nuanced narrative comes when Barbie starts grappling with existential thoughts – an unexpected and substantial layer added to the otherwise ideal life of this iconic doll. Therein starts her journey to resolve the sudden intrusion of mortal thoughts. This shift in narrative takes the storytelling from basic to profound, turning Barbie from a mere figure of imagination to a relatable character and a symbol of complex issues faced by women today.

Venturing into 'the Real World' to get to the roots of her existence, she encounters the all-male board of Mattel. The stage is set for an insightful critique of patriarchal structures, as these men believe themselves capable of determining girls' needs solely based on their ex-women CEOs. This segment further exposes the struggles of women stuck between oppressive limitations set out by society.

On a lighter note, the film unfolds into a hilarious satire of corporate giants through Gosling and his fellow Kens. While we relish the goofiness, the narrative subtly addresses significant themes like the impact of power and prominence on one's self-perception.

In the midst of humorous escapades – creatively woven around Gosling and his fellow Kens – the movie explores serious issues. Through the bizarre yet fascinating matriarchy of Barbieland, it delves into how power and visibility can shape one's self-perception. Gosling, in particular, delivers a top-tier comedic performance.

Cinematic influences seem to pepper the Barbie narrative, drawing inspiration from significant works. The carefully designed sets, dance choreography, nuanced performances, and impeccable costumes - such as Jacqueline Durran’s stylish outfits for Barbie - all converge exquisitely to create a remarkable cinematic experience.

Greta Gerwig's masterpiece harmoniously blends two polar extremes – the ridiculous and the profound, the ludicrous and the thought-provoking. This, coupled with the unmistakable nod to the discourse around women's struggles, makes the storytelling in Barbie reverberate far beyond the confines of a typical mainstream film. The viewers are left contemplating the depiction of womanhood as we get to understand Barbie better – an iconic figure who promises that "women can be anything" yet finds herself engulfed in a problematic narrative that expects women to be everything. This is the remarkable power of storytelling in Barbie, as it takes us on a journey through layers of messages hidden beneath the sparkly glamour of a doll's life.

Pros:

  • Excellent performances, especially by Robbie and Gosling.
  • Inventive storytelling with a surprising depth of message.
  • Effective use of cinematic elements.

Cons:

  • Somewhat forced blending of irreverent humor and serious undertones.
  • The narrative depth may get overshadowed by star-studded performances.
  • Implementation of feminist critique may seem too direct and self-serious.

Barbie, with all its highs and lows, embodies a film that dares to think differently and packages it in deceptively cheerful wrappings. The cheer may conceal the film's substantial core, but that's another layer that only adds to Barbie's surprising charm.

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